We’ve sorted through the highlights and lowlights of the year in online gambling and present to you our picks and pans, including our selections for Best Casino, Best Software and Internet Gambling Man of the Year. So grab yourself a festive beverage and let’s take a look back at this year in online gambling.
Most Bizarre Casino Game
Chernobyl-themed Atom slot machine at Russia’s Casino2000.ru. Line up the three nuclear radiation symbols to win the jackpot!
$171,893 slot machine win at King Solomons on June 17.
Biggest Jackpot That Wasn’t
$60,000 never awarded to WebTV player whose screen showed that she won the jackpot at Slotland only to be informed by the casino manager that it was a WebTV error and she didn’t “really” win the jackpot. Player settles for $3000 booby prize.
Most Overrated Technological Development
WAP technology lets you play real-money casino games on your cell phone. Almost as much fun as programming a VCR.
Best New Casino
Pyramid Casino. Excellent bonuses, good customer support, innovative ideas. Runners up: William Hill Casino and California Casino.
Tough call guaranteed to draw flak no matter who we choose, but we’ll narrow it down to five we really like. All of these casinos use quality software, always pay their winners and never draw serious complaints: Casino On Net (advertiser), Sands of the Caribbean, Lasseters, USA Casino (advertiser), Global Player.
Best No-Download Casino
None really stand out. So bite the bullet and do the download already!
Best WebTV-Compatible Casino
WebTV casino games universally suck. If you want to gamble online you better get a PC.
Best Casino for Low Rollers
Lasseters. Penny slots, penny roulette and other cheap games.
Best Celebrity Casino
Larry Holmes’ Bet With the Champ wins by default since Kenny Rogers Casino, Rodney’s Place (Rodney Dangerfield) and Evel Knievel Daredevil Casino are no longer operating.
Worst Celebrity Casino
Pamela Anderson Casino. It isn’t the real Pamela.
Stupidest Decision by Elected Officials
Australian Senate enacts retroactive moratorium on Internet game online destroying Australia’s world-leading online gambling industry, forfeiting a potentially enormous revenue stream, and making themselves look like a bunch of narrow-minded kangaroo-eaters.
Best Lack of Action by Elected Officials
Bill to prohibit Internet gambling in the US fails to pass. It’s becoming increasingly unlikely it ever will.
Most Exciting Development in Online Gambling
Major Las Vegas casinos Harrahs and MGM begin offering play for fun games, gearing up for the day when they accept real money wagers online, which could be soon.
Best Bonus Offer
$50 “win or your money back” promo available at various times throughout the year at First Web Casino, Wild Jack, Winning Worlds and elsewhere. Runner up: $25 free, no deposit required at Gaming Club (now reduced to ten bucks free).
Lousiest Bonus Offer
Nextel cell phone giveaway at NasaSports, PlayersBet and other casinos/sportsbooks. This turkey’s only redeemable in Las Vegas. Guess you’re expected to move to Las Vegas to get your free phone.
Most Inauspicious Casino Debut
The Red Line. Looked hot, shame the games didn’t work.
Jack Banks and Larry Weltmen, top executives at Galaxiworld online casino, convicted of defrauding a British bank of US$32 million.
Best New Software
Innoco’s Flash games previewed at the World Gaming Expo. Honorable mention to Diamond Games for their really-fast-loading Java games.
A toss up between CryptoLogic Version 4 (InterCasino, William Hill Casino, etc.) and Boss Media Version 2 (USA Casino, Metro Casino, etc.).
Boss Media software takes it hands down. Check out USA Casino or California Casino if you don’t believe us.
Best Customer Service Policy
VegasUSA will courier your winnings to you free of charge in 1 to 3 business days if you’re in North, Central or South America.
Worst Customer Service Policy
Boss Media casinos will only pay a maximum of five grand of your winnings per month. Not good.…